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Wines & Spirits: Anti-Counterfeit, Brand Protection & Product Authentication

  • November 2015
  • -
  • VandaGraf
  • -
  • 250 pages

Summary

Table of Contents

PRODUCT CRIME – WINES & SPIRITS

Wines & spirits are:
- Widely counterfeited
- Subjected to various forms of tampering, refilling and / or dilution
- Targeted by smugglers (particularly between countries with contrasting high & low excise tax
regimes).

Counterfeiting operations in particular can be scaled up and can be highly lucrative and are known to
be often linked to organised crime networks and in some cases terrorist groups.

LOOK-ALIKE COUNTERFEITS VERSUS REFILLING OF GENUINE EMPTY BOTTLES
The problem of copy or look-alike products is widespread for spirits and also wines. Such copy and
Look-alike products aim to perform the same function as a genuine product but are produced by an
independent manufacturer under a similar name, and nearly always are of inferior quality.

The products are sold in markets where consumers are vaguely familiar with Trade Marks and
international brands but often have little comprehension of English - All major spirits brands are
vulnerable to such attacks. Nonetheless it is clear that such challenges have by no means deterred
counterfeiters in China.

Unfortunately, no matter how sophisticated the on-bottle devices may be and how many steps are
taken to protect a genuine empty glass bottle to prevent illicit copying or reproduction of a particular
glass bottle, the widespread practice of obtaining empty genuine bottles and refilling them tends to
subvert this type of approach brand protection. This practice is particularly prevalent in China and
needs to be factored in to any brand protection strategy.

Counterfeiters are generally compelled to rely on either:
- Look-alike counterfeits using standard bottles which can only approximate to the appearance
of custom made bottle
- Collecting and re-filling empty used bespoke proprietary bottles and this generally means that
the original genuine label is still attached to the bottle.

All major wines & spirits brands are vulnerable to such attacks and both approaches are widely used
by criminals today.

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